22 Feb 2023
 | 22 Feb 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

A diatom extension to the cGEnIE Earth system model – EcoGEnIE 1.1

Aaron A. Naidoo-Bagwell, Fanny M. Monteiro, Katharine R. Hendry, Scott Burgan, Jamie D. Wilson, Ben A. Ward, Andy Ridgwell, and Daniel J. Conley

Abstract. We extend the ecological component (‘ECOGEM’) of the carbon-centric Grid Enabled Integrated Earth system model (‘cGEnIE’) to include a diatom functional group. ECOGEM represents plankton community dynamics via a spectrum of ecophysiological traits originally based on size and plankton food web (phyto- and zooplankton; EcoGEnIE 1.0), which we developed here to account for a diatom functional group (EcoGEnIE 1.1). We tuned EcoGEnIE 1.1, exploring a range of ecophysiological parameter values specific to phytoplankton, including diatom growth and survival (18 parameters over 250 runs) to fit best the model behaviour akin to observations of diatom biogeography, size class distribution, and global ocean biogeochemistry. This, in conjunction with a previously developed representation in the water column of opal dissolution and an updated iron cycle, produced an improved distribution of dissolved oxygen in the water column relative to the previous EcoGEnIE 1.0 as well as a value for global export production (7.5 Pg C yr−1) closer to previous estimates. Simulated diatom biogeography is characterised by larger size classes dominating at high latitudes, notably in the Southern Ocean, and smaller size classes dominating at lower latitudes. Overall, diatom biological productivity accounts for ~ 20 % of global carbon biomass in the model, with diatoms out-competing other phytoplankton functional groups when dissolved silica is available due to their faster maximum photosynthetic rates and reduced palatability to grazers. Adding a diatom functional group provides the cGEnIE Earth system model with an extended capability to explore ecological dynamics and their influence on ocean biogeochemistry through the late Mesozoic and Cenozoic, as well as enabling a broader range of palaeoceanographic proxies to be interpreted.

Aaron A. Naidoo-Bagwell et al.

Status: open (until 28 Apr 2023)

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Aaron A. Naidoo-Bagwell et al.

Model code and software

EcoGEnIE 1.1 configuration files Aaron Naidoo-Bagwell

Aaron A. Naidoo-Bagwell et al.


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Short summary
An extension to the EcoGEnIE 1.0 Earth system model that features a diverse plankton community. The new EcoGEnIE 1.1 model includes the siliceous plankton diatoms, whilst also considers their impact on biogeochemical cycles. With updates to existing nutrient cycles and the introduction of the silicon cycle, we see improved model performance relative to observational data. Through a more functionally diverse plankton community, the model enables more comprehensive future study of ocean ecology.